Sometimes you just don't even have 10 minutes to work out but you want to give yourself a feeling of achievement as it relates to your fitness goals. While I'm a big believer in getting your minimum 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week, I know that life sometimes steals your time and leaves you with only five minutes to do something. So do this: 100 repetitions of abdominal work that targets your deep core muscles and doesn't make you sweat so profusely.
Keep it simple. Do these five exercises -- 20 reps each -- and BOOM, you'll be at 100 reps before you know it. Remember, quality of movement is key. Do not rush through these abdominal crunches. Exhale as you lift, inhale as you lower. Work on abdominal bracing which means pulling your belly muscles in tight for the duration of the workout:
Table top crunches:
Lying on your back, maintaining a *neutral spine, table top your legs to be parallel to the ground, with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Keep your hips leveled to the ground and pull your belly tight towards the ground. Clasp your hands at your neck (not under your head). Bring your elbows wide to the side, and gaze skyward. Exhale the breath as you lift the shoulders off the ground, contracting your abdominals. Without ever dropping your shoulders to the ground keep crunching up, exhaling on every lift, and inhaling with every lowering.
Climb the rope:
Drop your feet to the ground keeping them hip distance apart. Reach with your left hand up towards the sky, lifting your shoulders off the ground and then your right hand as if to climb an imaginary rope. Each hand equals one repetition for a total of 40 reps, technically.
Reverse leg lifts:
Drop your head to the ground, bring your hands to either side of your hips. Lift your legs to the sky and pretend there is paint on the balls of your feet. Aim to touch the ceiling with the balls fo your feet as if to tap the ceiling. At the top of the movement, with good control, lift your hips up to create a slight pelvic tilt. Slowly lower your legs down toward the ground and then lift them back up again. If your lower back appears tight, add a slight bend in your knees as you lower down. Keep your core very tight as you proceed through this exercise.
Keeping your legs lifted up, lift your shoulders off the ground and reach with your hand to the opposite foot. If you want a challenge, scissor your opposite leg to the ground as you touch the foot that's up in the sky. Keep your belly tight. Remember to modify the exercise by bending your knees slightly if your back is sensitive.
Bring your hands behind your neck, opening your arms out to the side. Keep your gaze skyward and crunch up and over bringing your right elbow towards your left knee. While doing so, extend your left leg straight out. Get the full contraction of your right oblique before switching sides. Remember that each leg equals one repetition so technically you will do 40 bicycles.
*neutral spine is when you maintain the natural curvature of your spine where the cervical spine (your neck) bends inward, your thoracic spine (mid back) bends outward, and your lumbar spine (lower back) bends inward like your neck. Keep your stomach muscles engaged the entire time you crunch up and down to ensure proper support of the spine during spinal flexion.
Photo Credit: Mr Smith